News / Africa

African Leaders Urged to Meet With Diaspora

FILE - Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni arrives for the opening ceremony of the 22nd Ordinary Session of the African Union summit in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa.
FILE - Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni arrives for the opening ceremony of the 22nd Ordinary Session of the African Union summit in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa.
James Butty

An outspoken member of the African Diaspora has called on African leaders taking part in a Washington summit to meet with them.  

Chika Onyeani, publisher and editor-in-chief of the African Sun Times newspaper and chairman of the Celebrate Africa Foundation, acknowledged he’s not speaking for the whole African Diaspora.  

But, he said it remits an estimated $70 - $80 billion each year to Africa.

Onyeani said African leaders should give the Diaspora the same respect they give to other groups.  

In July, he wrote to African leaders calling for an African Diaspora Town Hall meeting in Washington during the summit, but received no reply.  

At the same time, he said, the African leaders attending the summit have made themselves readily available to organizations selected by the African Union office in Washington.

“Most of the time when they come they are always with the corporate people.  They don’t really take the Diaspora into account.  And, the thing is that the African Diaspora, especially continental Diaspora, is the most important constituency for the African presidents.  This is a constituency that sends $70 to $80 billion a year to Africa.  So, we are saying that they should be paying the same attention to us that they pay to all these corporate people who don’t contribute,” he said.

In his letter, Onyeani said the Diaspora was worried that the African leaders might ignore the Diaspora due to no fault of theirs while, at the same time, making themselves available to organizations such as the Corporate Council on Africa, which he says aims to profit from the African leaders’ visit.

“First of all, they are having a networking event on the 4th, which is $400 if you’re not a member of the Corporate Council.  And then, there’s a dinner for Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, which is $200, and there’s one for Ghana’s president, which is $200, one for the Kenyan president, which is $200, and there is one which is exclusive only by invitation alone for President (Teodoro) Obiang (Nguema) of Equatorial Guinea,” Onyeani said.

Onyeani said all of these fees, plus $100 for a ministerial networking, amount to $1,300.

He said, while a lot of Africans in the Diaspora can afford the amount, they would prefer to remit that money back to Africa to support some the world’s fastest growing economies rather than pay to see their own presidents.

He admits Washington is a city where business or diplomatic deals are sometimes made over dinner.

“We are not saying they should not do it, but what we are saying is that at least they should devote one or two hours to getting together with the African Diaspora, whereby the ambassadors should fund such a meeting. We should not be asked to fund it,” he said.

Onyeani proposed to the leaders that African Union chairperson and Mauritanian President, Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, to organize an African Diaspora Town Hall meeting to be attended by five heads of state chosen by their peers and representing the five regions of Africa.

But, Onyeani said his proposal never materialized.

“I called the Mauritanian Ambassador so many times. I left messages for him. He never returned the call,” he said.

Onyeani said some of the issues that would have been discussed would have included legal recognition of the African Diaspora as the Sixth Region of the continent and an appreciation and encouragement by African leaders for the role the Diaspora is playing as the “largest investor in Africa’s economy.”

He said Africa needs an African Diaspora-centered president like former Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade.

“When President Abdoulaye Wade would arrive in New York for the United Nations General Assembly meetings, while other African Presidents held their events in high-class expensive hotels like the Waldorf, his event would be held at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture on 135th and Malcolm X Blvd in Harlem,” Onyeani said in his second letter.

Butty interview with Onyeani
Butty interview with Onyeanii
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X

 

You May Like

Video For West Ukraine City, Conflict Far Away Yet Near

Physically and culturally close to Western Europe, Lviv feels solidarity with compatriots in country’s east but says they need to decide own future More

West African Women Disproportionately Affected by Ebola

Women's roles in families and the community put them at greater risk for contracting the disease, officials say More

Video NASA's MAVEN Spacecraft Arrives at Mars

Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution craft will measure rates at which gases escape Martian atmosphere into space More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
NASA’s MAVEN Probe Enters Mars Orbiti
X
September 22, 2014 9:20 PM
NASA’s newest Mars probe, called MAVEN, has successfully entered its designated orbit around the Red Planet. Scientists will use its sophisticated instruments to try to learn what happened to the atmosphere Mars had a few billion years ago. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video NASA’s MAVEN Probe Enters Mars Orbit

NASA’s newest Mars probe, called MAVEN, has successfully entered its designated orbit around the Red Planet. Scientists will use its sophisticated instruments to try to learn what happened to the atmosphere Mars had a few billion years ago. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video For West Ukraine City, Conflict Far Away Yet Near

The western Ukrainian city of Lviv prides itself on being both physically and culturally close to Western Europe. The Russian-backed separatists in the eastern part of the country are 1,200 kilometers away, and seemingly even farther away in their world view. Still, as VOA’s Al Pessin reports, the war is having an impact in Lviv.
Video

Video Saving Global Fish Stocks Starts in the Kitchen

With an estimated 90 percent of the world’s larger fish populations having already vanished, a growing number of people in the seafood industry are embracing the concept of sustainable fishing and farming practices. One American marine biologist turned restaurateur in Thailand is spreading the word among fellow chefs and customers. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Chinese Admiral Key in China’s Promotion of Sea Links

China’s President last week wrapped up landmark visits to India, Sri Lanka and Maldives, part of a broader campaign to promote a new “Maritime Silk Road” in Asia. The Chinese government’s promotion efforts rely heavily on the country’s best-known sailor, a 15th century eunuch named Zheng He. VOA's Bill Ide reports from the sailor’s hometown in Yunnan on the effort to promote China’s future by recalling its past.
Video

Video Experts Fear Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid